Don't change who you are. Be more of who you are - Sally Hogshead
It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work By Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work By Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work By Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work By Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

Leaders Empower & Enable…They Don’t Create Frenetic Environments

Management scholar Peter Drucker nailed it decades ago when he said “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”  ― Jason Fried

Five years ago…before Covid…before the “great resignation,” Jason Fried, the CEO of 37signals and co-author of the best-selling book Rework, published the book, It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work. Fried writes from the backdrop of his company, Basecamp, when he describes what a healthy workplace can look like. He doesn’t merely describe possibilities, but rather real examples of policies and practices he uses in his company to create a culture that empower and enable.

Most of us do not own companies. Most of us do not even manage whole organizations. We lead teams or divisions. We manage individuals within our organization. Or, maybe, we don’t manage anyone. Yet we are still a part of the organization. We still have the ability to examine our role and ensure that we are not a part of the frenetic energy that has the potential of destroying others around us.

Fried and Hansson divide their book into five major sections:

  • Curb Your Ambition. I know this flies in the face of many of the works and books focused on changing the world. Yet, our ambition cannot focus purely on our job and our work.
  • Defend Your Time. We need to honor work…and family. We need to make the most of our time…at work…and at home!
  • Feed Your Culture. This is perhaps my favorite part. No matter where we are in the company hierarchy, we can help to create a healthy culture. Not one that artificially conflates work and family. We do not need to claim our work is our family to ask employees to give a fair day’s work. 
  • Dissect Your Process. We all have the potential to create, foster, and perpetuate processes that do not benefit the organization and the individual. It’s only when we actually dissect the processes that we have put into place (purposefully,or by default) that we can understand whether the processes actually value what we claim to value.
  • Mind Your Business. Our company…our culture…our organization deserves and requires continual observation, protection, and care.

We may not own the company. We may not control the company. But we absolutely own the the culture that we create within our own circle of influence

A great work ethic isn’t about working whenever you’re called upon. It’s about doing what you say you’re going to do, putting in a fair day’s work, respecting the work, respecting the customer, respecting coworkers, not wasting time, not creating unnecessary work for other people, and not being a bottleneck. Work ethic is about being a fundamentally good person that others can count on and enjoy working with. ― Jason Fried